FOLLOWING a private dinner with the President, speakership candidate and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez vowed to expedite the passage of the priority measures of the executive department.
President Rodrigo Duterte and Rep. Romualdez met in a private meeting Wednesday night at the Bahay ng Pagbabago before attending the 122nd anniversary of the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
During the meeting, Romualdez personally assured President Duterte of a united House of Representatives that will expedite the passage of all the Chief Executive’s priority bills, especially the 2020 national budget and address the funding requirement of his flagship projects, including the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
“I took the opportunity to report to him what was discussed and agreed upon by the multi-party caucus hours ago. I assure him of a united House of Representatives,” Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), said.
“I told the President that my fellow congressmen, even before Congress opens session on July 22, have begun working on the measures that need to be discussed ASAP,” he added.
The Leyte solon was referring to the multi-party caucus which he called to discuss what congressional leaders from all political parties and influential blocs want to be prioritized in the 18th Congress.
The first of the series of caucuses, held at Seda Hotel in Quezon City, drew the attendance of 40 congressional leaders representing PDP-Laban, Lakas-CMD, National Unity Party, Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party, and the Party-List Coalition.
“The congressional leaders are unanimous in saying that the 18th Congress will be a real working partner of President Duterte and the Executive Department. All vowed to work double-time to shepherd the approval of the President’s legislative agenda,” he said.
“They also agreed to set aside politics and pool resources together to provide adequate funding for the President’s pet programs and projects that have direct impact on our people’s lives. This include the ambitious Build, Build, Build Program which the President want completed and set in place before the end of his term in 2022,” he added.
In his report to the President, Romualdez said approval on time of the proposed 2020 national budget remains on top of the 18th Congress’ priority list. This, he said, will ensure that government resources are readily available for the implementation of the President’s programs and projects.
In his meeting with Sec. Dominguez, Romualdez communicated the plan of congressmen for a self-imposed deadline of approving the 2020 National Expenditure Program by October this year.
Besides ensuring that next year’s budget would be enacted on time, Romualdez said the 18th Congress will also ensure that “the budget will be as fair and as equitable as the President mandates.”
“I also briefed the President about my meeting with Secretaries Mark Villar and Janet Abuel last Tuesday, where I relayed the commitment of Congress leaders to work on the funding for the President’s flagship infrastructure program,” Romualdez said.